Tuesday, 24 April 2012


There was a superb sight on the North Pond yesterday, a pair of Mallards happily swimming with 5 little chicks in tow! This is possibly the first breeding record for the new Ponds, only a couple of months after they were created.

Sunday, 22 April 2012


Despite the less than promising weather, myself, John and Andy decided to give Ringing a go this morning to see if anything was on the Mound. It turned out to be a very good decision when the first bird in the nets was this simply stunning male Common Redstart. This is one of my absolute favourite summer birds and I always love to see them, but to see one this close up was superb. We also had our first Willow Warbler of the year but other than that it was very quiet.
After packing the nets away I had a quick look over at Boldon Flats as a few good birds had dropped in, including a gorgeous drake Garganey, a pair of Green Sandpipers, and a single Whimbrel. The Flats are totally flooded at the minute due to the recent torrential rain but nobody is complaining when its attracting such good birds. After a tip off from Hoggy I then had a quick look up Blue House Lane as a Lesser Whitethroat had been there for a day or two. I was extremely surprised to see the bird straight away and in such good views as this is usually a very skulking species. A day that didnt hold much promise turned out very decent indeed!

Saturday, 14 April 2012


I've not had the chance to post for a little while due to a few niggles with the laptop but everything seems to be running fine again now. In all honesty there hasnt been a great deal to write about due to the less than impressive weather recently. But we were back in action this morning, as myself and John were taken to a site close to Lanchester by our friend Jimmy to visit one of the many Dipper boxes he has put up in the area. Once we managed to get across the ferocious torrent (see pic!) we checked the nest box and discovered there were six newly hatched chicks, barely over a week old, so both John and I ringed three birds each. It was a brand new experience for me, having never ringed an adult or a chick Dipper before!

The Coastal Park Ponds are looking absolutely superb at the moment. Just after the launch event, Steve managed to pull off a brilliant coup but getting Northumbrian Water to fill both of the ponds up with water from the local estate. Even better, they agreed to do it absolutely free of charge! No idea how he did it, but what an incredible job he did! He then contacted the local Fire Brigade, who were more than happy to do the actual filling. And so, over the space of two days, the ponds went from empty to fantastically full! A couple of days later a group of us did a little finishing off by covering the exposed liner with soil, making it look a touch more natural and prevent any damage over the coming years.

Thanks to Steve for the pictures.

Sunday, 1 April 2012


Well, today was the official launch event for our project at Whitburn Coastal Park. We were honoured to have the Mayor and Mayoress of South Shields in attendance this afternoon, along with lots of representatives of various Groups and Organisations, including of course the National Lottery, as none of this would have been possible without them! Despite the formal proceedings it was quite a fun and relaxed event (thankfully!), and didnt go on for too long. After a relatively brief welcome and introduction session at the Lighthouse we took the guests down to the Nature Reserve for a guided tour of the work we have done, followed by the customary photo session. We then returned to the Lighthouse where speeches were made, thank you's were said, and congratulations were had. The serious stuff out the way, everybody relaxed and had a chance to mingle while enjoying cake! That bit I could get used to!!! It was a really nice afternoon and a pleasant way to open the new Nature Reserve to the public.


We had another new Sparrowhawk in the nets this morning, the second weekend in a row this has occurred. They are absolutely stunning birds and always a privilege to handle. This particular individual was very relaxed in the hand and happily posed for a couple of pics before being released. (thanks for the pics Graham).